Thursday, February 6, 2014

What makes a puzzle hard–V (Puzzle No. 3,313)

We didn’t plan it that way, but Hot and Trazom and I are looking at the same topic this week.  I recently added the weekend Globe and Mail puzzles to our Sunday brunch menu and to my regular solving routine.  They’re harder than the The Nation puzzles, and definitely harder than the Hex cryptics in the Globe and Mail’s competition: the National Post.  Why?  Because constructor Fraser Simpson sets clues that are more in the British style.

One of the main distinctions of those puzzles is Simpson's being less strict about indicators than most North American constructors are.  The main place this is apparent is with anagrams, where the indicator may be murky or absent altogether.  If you do the Puns and Anagrams puzzles from the New York Times, where anagrams are assumed and other clue types are rare, this won’t bother you so much.  So when you’re stuck, look for a word or phrase with the same number of letters as the answer, and then try anagramming it.  

Link to puzzle

Degree of difficulty (by standards of this weekly puzzle): hard, but much easier once you get the theme.

Hozom’s comment: In the Indicative Mood, in which Hot and Trazom muse on hiding the indicator of a clue's type.  They also have a cluing challenge for us.

Back with the solution on Monday—join us this weekend for Sunday brunch for more cryptics and other interesting puzzles, and an explanation of one of the few things even more puzzling than a cryptic: the point system for judging Olympic figure skating!

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